Monday, July 10, 2023

If You Give a Missionary a Headache

When my children were little, my wife and I read a lot of picture books to them--I'm talking thousands and thousands of picture books to them. One set of picture books that I never cared for were the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie books. Here's what always bugged me about those books: the logic was all wrong.

The idea behind the books is that if you give a mouse a cookie or a moose a muffin or a pig a pancake or an eel an egg roll (or whatever), they are going to ask for something else which will lead to something else and on and on and on. Until the animal has destroyed your home (or built you treehouse--some of them were more destructive than others). The books are actually quite clever until the very end when the internal logic of the whole thing breaks down.

See they are all about cause and effect, action A leads to action B leads to action C and on and on. At the end of each book a final action leads you right back to the first action meaning that the animals and the human who humored them will be stuck in a vicious cycle forever. 

Only it never works like that.

Instead the books all end with action B which then moves backwards to action A. In the end the mouse gets another glass of milk which makes it ask for a cookie or the pig sees something that reminds it of syrup which makes it ask for another pancake or the eel gets another set of chopsticks which leads it to ask for more egg rolls. 

But don't you see, now the cycle is broken. The book's logic falls apart. Where does the mouse go now? from B to A back to B? That's just stupid. And that's my problem with If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

This is all a very long winded explanation as to why today's strip works better than those books.

Join me next week for my review of Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type (spoiler: I love it).

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